Plasma IL-6 concentration is inversely related to insulin sensitivity, and acute-phase proteins associate with glucose and lipid metabolism in healthy subjects

Diabetes Obes Metab. 2005 Nov;7(6):729-36. doi: 10.1111/j.1463-1326.2004.00463.x.


Aim: It has been shown that atherosclerosis is an inflammatory disease. Recent data suggest that inflammation precedes type 2 diabetes. Hence, we wanted to study the interrelationship between IL-6, insulin sensitivity, lipids and numerous acute-phase proteins.

Methods: Twenty-one healthy individuals [16 males/5 females, age 27.9+/-1.8 years, body mass index (BMI) 24.1+/-0.8 kg/m(2)] participated in the study. Each patient went through a 4-h hyperinsulinaemic (40 mU/m(2)/min) euglycaemic clamp and 4-h saline infusion. Blood samples were taken before and at the end of the infusions.

Results: Plasma interleukin (IL)-6 concentration correlated inversely with insulin sensitivity (M-value) (r=-0.49, p<0.05). Moreover, the plasma levels of IL-6 associated with c-peptide (r=0.49, p<0.05), fat% (r=0.43, p<0.05) and diastolic blood pressure (r=0.46, p<0.05). alpha-1-acid glycoprotein was related to HbA1(c) (r=0.47, p<0.05), insulin (r=0.55, p<0.01), diastolic blood pressure (r=0.58, p<0.01), systolic blood pressure (r=0.58, p<0.01) and triglycerides (r=0.58, p<0.01). Haptoglobin was correlated with insulin (r=0.46, p<0.05), total cholesterol (r=0.61, p<0.01), BMI (r=0.58, p<0.01), fat% (r=0.63, p<0.01) and lipid oxidation during clamp (r=0.43, p<0.05). Diastolic blood pressure decreased during the clamp (from 78.3+/-1.9 to 72.1+/-2.0 mmHg, p=0.001). Insulin infusion did not affect the serum levels of most acute-phase proteins.

Conclusions: Our study suggests that low grade inflammation, as reflected by IL-6, A1GP and haptoglobin contributes to the regulation of insulin sensitivity, lipid metabolism and blood pressure in normal human physiology.

MeSH terms

  • Acute-Phase Proteins / metabolism*
  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Body Mass Index
  • Complement C3 / metabolism
  • Female
  • Glucose Clamp Technique
  • Haptoglobins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / blood
  • Inflammation Mediators / blood
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology*
  • Interleukin-6 / blood*
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Male
  • Orosomucoid / metabolism


  • Acute-Phase Proteins
  • Blood Glucose
  • Complement C3
  • Haptoglobins
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Interleukin-6
  • Lipids
  • Orosomucoid